Raw meat is risky for pets and their owners, study finds

Raw Meat is Dangerous For Pets Study Says			 0					By		Denis Bedoya

Veterinarians are warning people about the potential risks of feeding dogs and cats raw meat-based diets-not just for the pets, but for their human owners, as well.

Daniel Chan, professor of emergency and critical care medicine and clinical nutrition at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, who was not involved in the research, said the new study added to a growing body of evidence on raw meat diets for pets.

Among the ideas fuelling the movement is that these diets are more "natural" for pets, avoid problems of additives or contamination in processed food, and can help to tackle issues like skin problems and allergies. In a new analysis of 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods, researchers found that 86% of products contained potentially risky bacteria. 'Which could pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health'.

"Feeding of freshly prepared, non-frozen raw meat based-diets to companion animals cannot only result in infection and disease in the animals, but also poses a risk to public health and livestock farming through shedding of pathogens into the environment", the researchers conclude.

The study by Utrecht University, published in the journal, analysed 35 commercial frozen foods from eight different brands, widely available in The Netherlands.

He said new PFMA guidelines set out how to handle raw meat hygienically.

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This isn't the first time researchers have warned pet owners against raw meat-based diets.

Some products also contained the parasites Sarcocystis and Toxoplasma gondii.

Fifteen products contained species from the nasty Listeria genus, eight products had Escherichia coli, and seven products contained at least one Salmonella species.

This is important, researchers say, because the bacteria and parasitic pathogens found in the food may possibly be a source of infection in pets, which may also become a risk for humans. "I think that in the USA especially, owners are much more liking the convenience, and buy these products instead of preparing raw food on their own". For example, through direct contact with the food or with an infected pet; through contact with contaminated household surfaces; or by eating cross-contaminated human food.

Things are probably better if you only purchase meat intended for human consumption, as the hygiene requirements for producing that are usually stricter than for the giblets, entrails, and other byproducts deemed suitable for raw pet food.

Giving them the reason to ditch dry and canned pet foods and feed their pets raw meat-based diets (RMBDs). Some manufacturers say it's what dogs and cats would eat in the wild, claiming it will give them shinier coats, fresher breath, and higher energy levels.